Two quick thoughts about McCain's speech: 1.) Yes, he sounded like a curmudgeon when he bashed hopefulness. On the other hand, if anyone's going to pull off the case against hope (and I'm not sure anyone is), it's McCain. For example, these two lines are pretty powerful: "I've seen men's hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience. I stood astonished at the resilience of their hope in the darkest hours." Like Hillary, McCain is saying hope is not enough. Unlike Hillary, he can more credibly say: "Don't talk to me about hope. I know hope. But..." It could play well among certain demographics (older people, veterans, Republican-leaning independents).

2.) This guy doesn't seem to respect Obama much. At times he struggled to conceal something bordering on disdain, as when he said: "To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope, it's a platitude." I don't think the edge in his voice will serve him well in a potential matchup with Obama, but I'm not surprised by it either. These two men had a pretty raw falling out over ethics reform two years ago, and I doubt either one has forgotten it. (See, for example, this sarcastic McCain response to this Obama letter.) Look for that to flare up at some point in the general if Obama's the nominee.

--Noam Scheiber